Anger over death of baby separated from jailed mother in Philippines

Anger over death of baby separated from jailed mother
Baby River with her mother Reina Mae Nasino at hospital on the day of her birth. Source: KAPATID
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Daily US Times: The death of a three-month-old baby separated from her jailed mother despite pleas to keep the pair together has shocked the people of the Philippines.

Human rights worker Reina Mae Nasino didn’t know she was pregnant when she was arrested last year in Manila. Ms Nasimo put her missed period down to the stress of a night-time police raid in which she was arrested, along with her two fellow activists.

It was only during a medical examination in prison that she found out she was in her first trimester.

Last week, the 23-year-old human right’s worker’s newborn died – less than two months after the baby was removed from her care. The incident has raised questions about the treatment of Philippine mothers in custody as many voiced their anger at the justice system for failing the child.

Ms Nasino was arrested in November 2019 with two fellow activists after police raided an office where they lived at the time. She worked for the urban poverty group Kadamay.

They were charged with the illegal possession of firearms and explosives – charges all of them have denied. The human rights workers say the ammunition was planted by authorities amid a widening crackdown against left-leaning activists.

Ms Nasino “was quite excited to be a mother”, despite the circumstances, her lawyer Josalee Deinla said. She was prepared for the challenge of giving birth in custody and also aware of the lengthy legal proceedings.

But as the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines, her concerns grew rapidly. T legal aid group representing Ms Nasino, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, filed a series of motions calling for her release. Motions were also asked the court to allow the activist and her baby to remain together at the Manila City Jail or in hospital. But all are denied by court.

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